Waubonsie's FT shooting denies CL South's comeback
One brilliant quarter of basketball was almost enough to lift Crystal Lake South past Waubonsie Valley.
The Gators, so frigid in the first half, were sticking 3-pointers on one end and coming up with stops on the other in the fourth quarter, hacking away at Waubonsie Valley's once-substantial lead.
The Warriors saved themselves at the one place where South could not defend them, the free-throw line. Waubonsie Valley hit 8 of 8 free throws in the final 1:49 to hold off the Gators, 52-50, in their Pool IV game Saturday at Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic.
Waubonsie Valley (6-4) hit 17 of 19 free throws for the game, with 13 of 13 in the second half.
"Basketball's a game of runs, we withstood it," Warriors coach Andrew Schwietzer said. "They caught fire, they kept fighting and we didn't miss a free throw in the fourth quarter. That is a huge first step to learning how to finish games for us. We needed every single one of them with how they were shooting."
The Warriors had a 38-23 lead late in the third quarter before South's Arnav Jain heated up. Jain hit a 3 to end the third and then hit four more in the fourth. The Gators' Cooper LePage hit four 3s in the second half, two in the third and two more in the fourth.
"Our second half was as good a half as we've played all year," Gators coach Matt LePage said. "We were just in a heck of a hole. The battle was great in the second half, we just came out so sluggish. We got hot at the right time. We were in a great spot."
South (7-3) started a 12-0 run late in the third quarter.
"It's all a mentality thing, nothing about their team changed," said Jain, who scored a team-high 17 points. "It was all about how we viewed the game and how hard we wanted to compete. It was all mentality."
South had the lead down to 46-44 after LePage's 3 with 42 seconds remaining. LePage stole the inbound pass and the Gators had a chance to tie, but two Warriors converged on him and knocked the ball loose.
"I think I dribbled it off that dude's foot," said Cooper LePage, who scored 14 points. "I needed to get on the pressure and calm down. I was too rushed. It says a lot about our team, we scored 37 in the second half. We just can't come out slow anymore."
Langendorf led Waubonsie Valley with 17 points and nine rebounds. He was 7 of 7 from the line, with five in the third quarter.
"We could have done a better jog against their little (defensive) traps they were throwing," Langendorf said. "Credit to them for getting us out of our offense. We could have done better, but we did just enough. Toward the end they were hitting shots, our free throws kept our lead."
Langendorf scored on a layup at 46-44 and Tyler Helbing added two free throws for the Warriors. LePage hit another 3, then Waubonsie Valley's Braylon Spicer hit two free throws to seal the game. Jain swished one more 3 at the buzzer.
"We had 23 (turnovers) and hit 10 3s and lost," Matt LePage said. "That's a pretty good team. They made 17 free throws, they were incredible from the line."